As the NFL football season winds down for Jet fans, the attention will begin to be focused on the draft and quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Yes the Jets will need a quarterback but there are a lot of other holes to fill. In the last three years the offensive line for the New York Jets has been incredibly weak. In 2019, Pro Football Focus (PFF) ranked the Jets offensive line as the 28th in the league out of 32-which I think was generous, even though the offense was ranked last (32nd) in the league. Their 15 points a game was embarrassing especially when you consider the Green Bay Packers, first in the league averaged 31+ points per game. They gave up 52 sacks during the season. Compare that to 2009 when they only allowed 30 sacks in the season. There is some significance to that year but more on that later. When you consider any of the offensive statistics such as points per game, sacks allowed, rushing yardage etc., it all starts in the trenches with the offensive line. One only has to look at the recent Jet loss to the Las Vegas Raiders with an awful defensive strategy that gave the game away at the end. The Jets managed to rush for 206 yards, with Ty Johnson getting 104 of them, the first hundred yard rusher the Jets have since 2018.
In this pass happy league running has still played a huge part of the best offenses in the NFL. And the Jets have been awful mainly due to neglect with too few offensive linemen drafted. Joe Douglas expressed his desire in changing that and with his first choice, Mekhi Becton the gifted tackle, the Jets are making strides in that direction.
Within this line it is the interior, the center and both guards that I am most concerned. The line seemed to collapse in the middle too many times and the blitzes that got to Sam Darnold seemed to come through that same middle of the line. When Joe Douglas addresses this need once again this off season, Jet fans will begin to hear names such as free agent Joe Thuney and draft prospect Wyatt Davis from Ohio State, among others to fortify the interior protection for the next signal caller. In a discussion with a fellow fan about the Jets interior, I was asked to name a player who played who would be a measuring stick to either sign or draft. Without hesitation, I said Brandon Moore. This former Jet will always be associated with the overhyped “Butt Fumble” debacle which was never his fault. If you take a closer look at Brandon Moore what you will see is that he was the consummate professional when he played. In an era where it is becoming more and more common for NFL players to miss games, Moore was an anomaly starting 142 of 144 games for the Jets in his career.
Brandon Moore was born in Gary Indiana in 1980. He went to West Side High School then on to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He played defensive tackle and was a three year starter. In his senior year he made All-Big Ten. He graduated with an English degree. He was not selected in the 2002 draft. Moore signed with the New York Jets as an undrafted free agent spending time on the practice squad after stints with the Scottish Claymores and Carolina Cobras of the Arena Football League. The Jets made a brilliant decision moving him to offense at guard and Moore took to the position like he was born to play it. He improved every year becoming a dedicated student of his craft. In 2009 he was part of one of the best offensive lines the New York Jets ever put together. Playing with Moore was Alan Faneca, D’Brichashaw Ferguson, Damien Woody and Nick Mangold. So good was this line that the Jets rushed for a league high 2,756 yards. No Jet team since has come close to that number.
Moore became a very respected leader among his teammates. After the 2011 season he was selected to the Pro Bowl. And in 2012 he made the list of top 100 players in the NFL by Pro Football Focus ranked at number 78. Before the 2013 season Moore signed a free agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. He never played with them deciding instead to retire to spend more time with his family.
Brandon Moore will never be fitted with the Gold Jacket at Canton. His quiet demeanor and the lack of fanfare after college did not help in his consideration for All-Pro or multiple Pro-Bowls. All Brandon Moore did was do his job correctly and play in almost every game. Yes, I would use the Brandon Moore player as well as person as an example to build a winner. If the New York Jets had five Brandon Moores playing on the offensive line, the Jets would be in the playoffs every year. We need more players like him!
Marty Schupak has been a New York Jets football fan since 1964. His blog and Podcast are both at: www.JetsRewind.com